I intend to go into more depth on the new Animal Planet series, Lost Tapes, but having just been introduced to the new show last night, I'm reserving my comments for one, very good, reason: it's not real.
The disclaimer at the opening of the show proclaims the following a "story inspired by the possibility that hidden creatures may exist." However, the entire premise of the show is that we are seeing actual, "lost" tapes - one episode even claimed the tapes featured in the episode were later found by aborigines right outside their village... Further, Animal Planet intersperses the "lost" footage with actual footage (that is, footage collected by cryptozoologists which is purported to be, at the very least, not hoaxed material - insofar as expert analysis can tell) and actual lore, zoological facts, and so forth. As they launched tonight's episodes with two, pretty good, episodes focusing on the more scientific approaches to both Champ and Bigfoot (episodes which originally appeared on other Discovery Network channels), it even further occluded the series' fictional basis.
I instantly began searching for the names of the people who were featured and, as others noted on the boards, it was to no avail. While I realized much of the footage was "reenactment" stuff featuring actors, the question remains as to whether or not any of these stories are actually based on real events. At any rate, I feel certain that if ever a game warden named Rachel H. Glen actually captured an unknown, and possibly Bigfoot, image on film, I - of all people - would be able to find at least a mention of it somewhere online - specifically because so much of the episode was centered on her webcam "podcasts." I say this because I already ferreted-out the better sites collecting such things a while back, and I try to stay on top of such developments because... well, this blog and shit.
I have no problem with Lost Tapes being a mockumentary; I have a problem with it being intentionally passed-off as, you know, possibly real - maybe - with that tongue-in-cheek "What do you think?" intonation.
Shame on you, Animal Planet. Shame on you for your new, twisted "M" logo and focus on lurid, pandering material (such as the new "animal deaths" show they promoted so heavily throughout the run tonight). If you want to get in on the cryptozoology game - and why not, it is your cup o' tea, after all - do what the other networks did: throw a little money at it and actually make one! Heck, just do what all the rest of them did to make that money: compile a show or two from the existing evidence! Throw in a couple interviews for $20-50 a pop and heap on some flashy, "twisted-M" computer graphics in post, and voila!
It ain't rocket surgery.
© C Harris Lynn, 2008